Ancient Greek mythology attributes feminine virtue to textile production, from thus the two become interwoven to form contemporary archetypes in art and society. In The Odyssey, the figure of Penelope preserves her chastity, while her husband fought in the Trojan War, by weaving day and night. This enabled her to avoid the advances of suitors who wanted her kingdom, her fortune and her hand. The figure Arachne was turned into a spider for spurning the advances of the God Apollo. Lastly, the virgin warrior the Goddess Athena oversaw textile production among mortal women.
The artist Ruth Scheuing re-examines these legendary women and brings these heroines to life in a medium intrinsic to their stories: the textile. These myths impart a narrative that intertwines feminine virtue with textile production, a connection that has shaped women’s experiences and roles in ancient, and contemporary, societies.